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9 Incredible Things to Do In Dalat, Vietnam’s ‘Little Paris’ High in the Mountains

Vietnam’s Little Paris is an isolated city high in the hills of South Vietnam. Originally built by the French as a mountain retreat, Dalat (or Da Lat in Vietnamese) is now one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations. It is centered around the picturesque Ho Xuan Huong lake.

The mist that falls across the mountain valleys here gives the city another of its many nicknames, City of Eternal Spring.

Dalat has also been called the City of Thousand Flowers, City of Thousand Pines, City in the Fog, and of course, Little Paris. With this many affectionate nicknames, you can be sure that this is somewhere special to visit.

If you enjoy beautiful mountain landscapes, charming French influences, and a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility, Dalat is a must-visit destination while in Vietnam.

Things to do in Dalat

1. Canyon Down Datanla Waterfall

Dalat is a playground for adventure seekers, helped by its location in the heart of the forested central highlands.

For most thrillseekers, the must-do adventure activity is canyoning down Datanla Waterfall.

Join an organized Canyoning tour and experience the thrill of canyoning down the fall, traversing through rock formations, and plunging into crystal-clear pools. All while taking in the breathtaking natural scenery.

If you are not so interested in the canyoning but still enjoy waterfalls, consider taking the Dalat Three Waterfalls tour. On this tour your guide will collect you and take you to the Elephant, Pongour, and Datanla waterfalls.

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2. Check Out the Datanla Alpine Coaster

Even if you don’t come for the canyoning tour, the Datanla wateralls area offers plenty of other fun things to do, everything is easy to find and well-signposted.

As well as the waterfalls, there is also a high ropes course, a cable car, ziplining and of course, you can choose to take the famous Datanla Alpine Coaster to see one of the waterfalls.

On the Datanla Alpine Coaster you’ll twist and turn through the pinewood forest on a gravity-powered roller coaster. Spanning 1 kilometer and reaching speeds of up to 40 km/h, it takes visitors on an exhilarating journey through the lush scenery.

  • Datanla Alpine Coster ticket price: 300,000 VND per adult
  • How to get to Datlana Falls: take a taxi for $4 each way
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3. Get Lost in Maze Bar – Vietnam’s Most Unique Bar

More and more popular each year, Maze Bar is perhaps the best bar experience in all of Vietnam. Even though the place is absolutely enormous and over six floors, you’ll be sure to find a great atmosphere.

From the outside, Maze Bar (also called 100 Roofs Cafe) looks just about like any other building, but inside it’s a completely different world. The six floors within are designed to create an impression of a natural cave in a jungle.

First there is a bamboo-shaped gate leading you to a labyrinth of narrow staircases and, mystical cave-like rooms. All of the wall space is covered with trees, animals, artwork, and sculptures.

There is a particularly great view from the very top, which is a great place to watch the sunset. Drinks are a bit on the expensive side but it doesn’t detract from this one-of-a-kind adventure!

Maze bar is located at 57 Phan Boi Chau Street, a few meters from the market, just in front of the local KFC.

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4. Discover The One-And-Only Crazy House

On account of just how bizarre and unusual it is, Crazy House is an absolute must-visit attraction in the city of Dalat. Just like Maze Bar, you’ll be amazed at just how incredibly large it is.

Vietnamese architect Hang Nga started work on Crazy House way back in 1990, taking her over 20 years to finish her labor of love.

As you will see, the architect was primarily inspired by nature. Elements in the house have incorporated things like spider webs, tree trunks, and caves. You will feel as if you have been transported to a fairytale world (think: Gaudi / Tim Burton!).

The entrance fee is affordable, costing around 40,000 VND per person.

If you are so inclined, you can even spend a memorable night at this unique destination.

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5. Explore the Old French Railway Station

Many cities in Vietnam have pockets of French architecture here and there – like wide tree-lined boulevards or Juliet balconies. Dalat is different however in that it was actually built by the French.

Dalat is therefore unmistakably French in influence. After all, there is a reason it is affectionately referred to as Little Paris!

To get a sense of the French influence here, visit the charming Dalat Railway Station.

Go back in time as you visit this historic landmark, and notice the French colonial architecture that blends together French and Vietnamese influences. Take a stroll along the platform, admiring the vintage steam locomotives, and if you are really interested, you can even take a scenic train ride.

6. Enjoy the Mountain Views from Lang Bian Mountain

Conquer Lang Bian Mountain for an exhilarating hike leading to inspiring panoramic views.

7. Immerse in Nature at Dalat Flower Gardens

and mimosa blossoms in the winter.

For nature lovers, the Dalat Flower Gardens offer a captivating immersion in colorful blooms. Explore the vibrant array of flowers, from roses and orchids to daisies and mimosa blossoms. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, breathing in the fragrant scents and marveling at the beauty of nature.

Capture Instagram-worthy photos amidst the picturesque landscapes and carefully manicured flower beds. Learn about the various species of flowers and their significance in Vietnamese culture through informative signage and guided tours. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the stunning transformation of the gardens throughout the seasons, from tulips blooming in spring to chrysanthemums adorning the pathways in autumn. Whether you’re a botany enthusiast or simply seeking a serene escape, the Dalat Flower Gardens are a must-visit destination for a tranquil and enchanting experience.

8. Discover the Flavors of Dalat Cuisine

Dalat is known across Vietnam for its abundant produce, including a wide variety of flowers, vegetables and fruits. The food reflects the area. Dalat specialties include the Dalat artichoke which you may see on restaurant menus here. This is considered one of the first artichokes in the world!

such as banh trang nuong (grilled rice paper), banh bao (steamed bun), and banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake). From street food stalls to upscale restaurants, you’ll find a range of options to satisfy your taste buds.

The best restaurants in Da Lat offer a variety of delicacies, using fresh produce sourced from the town’s vegetable farms, wineries, and lush forests. Blessed with a cool central highland climate, some of the best locally grown foods in Da Lat include strawberries, asparagus, artichokes, grapes, tea and coffee.

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Banh Can is a rice flour pancake originally from the Cham ethnic group in Ninh Thuan province.

9. Visit the Linh Phuoc Pagoda

Linh Phuoc Pagoda, also known as Ve Chai Pagoda, is a must-visit attraction in Da Lat. This stunning pagoda is famous for its intricate mosaic work, featuring broken glass and pottery. The pagoda’s main attraction is a 37-meter-long dragon made entirely of beer bottles! Inside, you’ll find beautiful statues and intricate architectural details that reflect the Vietnamese Buddhist culture. Don’t forget to explore the surrounding gardens, which are filled with serene ponds and colorful flowers. The peaceful atmosphere and unique design make Linh Phuoc Pagoda a truly unforgettable experience.

10. Dalat Night Market

Dalat Night Market is a must-visit when in the city. From local snacks to second-hand clothing and souvenirs, the market offers a diverse shopping experience. If you happen to be there during festivities like Da Lat Flower Festival or Tet, you’ll also get to enjoy exhibitions, street parades, and performances by Vietnamese celebrities. Don’t miss the chance to witness modern performances like busking, hip-hop dances, and skateboarding. And on weekends, you can explore the market on foot as the city center is vehicle-free.

Da Lat Night Market offers some of the most diverse shopping experiences in the hill town. Open daily from 5 pm, the streets of Da Lat City Centre are lined with colorful stalls selling local snacks, second-hand clothing, and souvenirs. 

If you’re visiting during festivities like Da Lat Flower Festival, Tet, and Christmas, there are numerous exhibitions, street parades, and performances by Vietnamese celebrities. You can also see locals showcasing modern performances, such as busking, hip-hop dances, and skateboarding.

Weekends are the best time to explore Da Lat Night Market on foot as all roads in the city center are closed off to motorcycles, taxis and buses.

Where to stay in Dalat

How to travel to Dalat

For many people, either before or after visiting Ho Chi Min City, there is a choice between where to stop off at Nha Trang or Dalat. Our advice is to definitely choose Dalat, is there is much more to do than in Nha Trang.

Getting Around

Dalat is best explored on foot. As a smaller city with a compact layout, most of its attractions are nearby, making walking a convenient and enjoyable option.

For other trips, taxis are well-priced and readily available, and the same for motorbike taxis (just be sure to negotiate the price in advance).

Renting a scooter is not really necessary, but if you choose to do this be aware that the roads can be quite hilly and potholed.

Best time to visit Dalat

The best time to visit Dalat is during the spring season, between December and March. During this time, the weather is pleasantly cool and the skies are clear, perfect for exploring the outdoor activities and for clear views of the surrounding landscapes.

If traveling in the rainier months between May and October, there will be more likelihood of rain, which could hinder outdoor activities.

Dalat is beautiful all year round so even if you travel in spring, summer, autumn, or winter, it will be enjoyable.

How many days do you need

It is recommended to spend around 3 days in Dalat to fully explore and experience the city’s attractions and offerings.

Another reason is that in order to get to Dalat, a long bus ride is needed (most likely coming from Hoi An or Ho Chi Min). After having traveled for so long, it would not be advisable to rush your time here.

Spending 3-4 days in Dalat will allow you to visit popular landmarks and attractions, such as canyoning, while also leaving room to relax and enjoy the scenic beauty of the surrounding countryside.

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